The National Archives of India is committed to ensure longevity of documents in its custody through an elaborate "Security Microfilming Programme" which is being practiced by the National Archives of India for over five decades. Microfilming is being used as a measure for preservation of records under disaster management against deterioration from use or loss due to natural calamity or manmade sabotage and natural ageing and fading of inks.

The Reprography Division is equipped with modern machines which not only attends to the needs of scholars apart from its normal functioning but is also engaged in the task of preparing security microfilms of valuable records as a precautionary measure against loss by fire, flood, war and sabotage.

Duplicative Conservation - All "A" category records are microfilmed as a security microfilming to prevent wear and tear of original records and instead the microfilms are provided for dissemination to various scholars visiting Archives.

The Division is also converting the analog microfilm images into digital images. Recently a project has been outsourced for converting the 13,281 Microfilm rolls images into digital images of Foreign Acquisition Series and microfilm rolls acquired from Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi in 2022 and also to upload the same on our search portal namely Abhilekh Patal within a period of 2 years.

Some Details of Series of Microfilm rolls available in Microfilm Repository of NAI, New Delhi -

1. Microfilm Rolls 

  • Foreign Acquisition Series includes like Add. Mss. British Museum London, Nouvelles Acquisitions Series - Bibliotheque Nationale Paris France, Dutch Mss., Mountbatten Papers, Panda Records, Butler Collection, Anderson Collection, Simon Collection, Hardinge Papers, Transfer of Power Papers, Dutch Mss., Genealogical Society of Utah etc.
  • Private Miscellaneous Series includes like Rare Manuscripts from the Rampur Raza Library, Tanjore Raj Records, Tagore Manuscripts, Reports on Native News Papers -Bengal, Madras, Bombay etc., Abhyudaya, Urdu and Persian News Papers, C. Rajagopalachari Papers, Indian National Congress – Proceedings, Home Department Proceedings - IOL&R, K. M. Munshi Papers and Miscellaneous Microfilm rolls
  • Sardar Patel Papers
  • Crown Representative Papers includes like Mysore records, Punjab State, Hyderabad, Rajputana, Kashmir etc.
  • Microfilm rolls acquired from Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi in 2022 in 14 various Indian languages like Gujrati, English, Hindi, Kannada, Malyalam Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telgu, Urdu, Bengali, Konkani.

FAQs - Microfilming:

Question 1: What is a microfilm?

Ans. A microfilm is a medium comprising a light sensitive polyester based film used for recording images of documents in a highly greatly reduced size on a light sensitive polyester based film. Therefore, micro photographic images on microfilms can be read only by magnifying them with the aid of an optical device.


Question 2: Why is microfilming done?

Ans. Among the many reasons are:

  • To preserve the original records for posterity.
  • To avert wear and tear of original records by frequent handling.
  • To avoid eventual loss of original records either by natural calamity like flood, fire, earthquake or by ravage of insects and riots etc.
  • To save space for housing more records.


Question 3: Why is microfilming done although now digitization may be undertaken?

Ans. Microfilming is a time tested medium for storage of records whereas digitization suffers from “Technological Obsolescence” as the technology keeps rapidly changing. Also, microfilm has legal validity of evidence in the courts of law. Lately, the technology of digitization of microfilms has enabled internet users to access microfilms online.


Question 4: How do you preserve microfilms?

Ans. The following pre-requisites are required:

  • Fully Air Conditioned Microfilm Repository – 24 x 7
  • Temperature 20-22˚C
  • Humidity 45-50%
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Fireproof Microfilm Cabinets
  • Dust free atmosphere If the above conditions are met, the life expectancy of microfilm is 500 years.


Question 5: How do make copies from Microfilms?                  

  • Through an optical device “Microfilm Reader Printer”. It makes direct plain paper copies from microfilms.
  • By first scanning of microfilms and then making readable plain paper copies from scanned images.